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Increasing Your Knee’s Range of Motion

Swelling, tight muscles, or scar tissue may make it hard to move your knee. Work with your physical therapist to increase your knee’s range of motion. The following treatments may be used.

Physical therapist helping patient do knee exercises.
Passive range-of-motion exercises help increase your knee’s mobility.

  • Ultrasound. Sound waves are used to create deep heat. This improves blood flow and can promote tissue healing.

  • Patella mobilization (moving your kneecap). This is done by your physical therapist. It prevents buildup of scar tissue and improves range of motion.

  • Bracing or taping. This is used to correct a problem with patellar tracking.

  • Passive range-of-motion exercises. These gently bend and straighten your knee joint. Your leg is moved by your physical therapist or a machine.

  • Assistive range-of-motion exercises. These also move your knee. You use your own strength. Your physical therapist or a machine will help you.

  • Active range-of-motion exercises. These are done by bending and straightening your knees under your own power.

Online Medical Reviewer: Moloney Johns, Amanda, PA-C, MPAS, BBA
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/12/2013
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